Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (Japan)
The Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (水陸機動団 Suirikukidōdan) is a marine unit of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) responsible for conducting amphibious operations. It incorporates the former Western Army Infantry Regiment, which was the dedicated amphibious warfare unit of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
|Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade|
Official velcro patch of the ARDB
|Active||7 April 2018 – present|
|Branch||Japan Ground Self-Defense Force|
Eventually would have 3,000 soldiers
|Major General Shinichi Aoki|
The ARDB is based at Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.
In light of tensions over the Senkaku Islands and the decision for putting the Chinese Coast Guard under military control, Japan started the process of creating an elite marine unit. This brigade was designed to conduct amphibious operations and to recover any Japanese islands taken by an adversary.
In 2006, Japan devised a plan to respond to this threat as outlined in the Defense Programs and Budget of Japan. Thus Japan prepared an amphibious force with the necessary know-how, acquired amphibious and other vehicles for such warfare. Prior to this, training was conducted with the U.S. Marine Corps such as "Iron Fist" and the integrated exercise "Dawn Blitz" in which the JSDF participated.
In the Rim of the Pacific Exercise of 2014, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force participated for the first time with amphibious warfare training between the U.S. Marine Corps and the GSDF for multilateral exercises. In Japan, joint exercises are also conducted by inviting the U.S. Marine Corps at JGSDF Camp Soumagahara (Gunma Prefecture) and training with the dispatch of GSDF members to the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa Prefecture.
On 7 April 2018, Japan activated its first marine unit since World War II. The marines of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF)'s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, gathered at a ceremony activating the brigade at JGSDF's Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, on the southwest island of Kyushu, Japan. The Brigade is trained to counter invaders from occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo considers vulnerable to attack.
150 ARDB soldiers were deployed for the first time in an overseas training exercise with American and Filipino marines in Operation Kamandag in October 2018. The marine unit also dispatched 300 soldiers to participate in Exercise Talisman Saber in July 2019, training in amphibious landings at Queensland, Australia along with American, Australian and British marines.
The ARDB suffered its first casualty when a 38-year old JGSDF soldier, Suguru Maehara, with the rank of Sergeant 1st Class, was killed in a vehicular accident after the vehicle he was in collided with another vehicle in Subic Bay.
The ARDB is composed of the following:
- Brigade HQ
- 1st Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment
- 2nd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment
- 3rd Amphibious Rapid Deployment Regiment (being formed)
- Artillery Battalion
- Reconnaissance Battalion
- Engineer Battalion
- Combat Landing Battalion
- Logistic Support Battalion
- Signal Company
- Amphibious Rapid Deployment Training Unit
ARDB forces are equipped with light infantry weapons, including:
- Minimi 5.56mm Light Machine guns
- Howa Type 89 Assault rifles
- M24 SWS Sniper Rifles
- Minebea PM-9 Machine pistol
ARDB are also equipped with US and Japanese-made military vehicles and aircraft such as:
- Imperial Japanese Navy Land Forces — Historical units
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- "防衛省・自衛隊｜平成29年版防衛白書｜コラム｜＜解説＞自衛隊初の本格的な水陸両用作戦部隊「水陸機動団」の新編". Mod.go.jp. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-30. Retrieved 2018-08-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)